Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Countdown: 15: Study Hall

Sometime in the early 90s (I'm thinking '93 or '94)

I was bored. Second semester of seventh grade, and somehow I had managed to land myself the easiest schedule ever. I can't remember the order of the classes, but it went something like this:
1) American history
2) English
3) math
4) science
5) teacher helper
6) choir
7) study hall

Did you notice those last three classes? Yes. I had a lot of free time on my hands. I finished all my homework before fifth period was over. I started going through three books at the library a week. I started writing notes to my friends like crazy. I started--well, I started a book.

I took a piece of notebook paper, folded it in half, and wrote "Walk Me Home. By Tamara Hart. Chapter 1." Yes, that was the original title, and that was my original name.

I started the book thinking about my three best friends, thinking of "The Babysitters Club", and thinking about what would be an exciting story. I came up with the idea of a kidnapping. I also wanted to share my LDS beliefs in a non-obtrusive way. Kids love reading about other kids. So my four girl characters, aged 12 to 14, were all LDS. As I was only 12 at the time, there was a lot of silliness--like getting away from the kidnapper and going on a shopping spree at the mall--and going into Sam's Club to try all the samples. I employed a lot of known 'plot devices' at the time (I thought I was being clever...) like a real skeleton in the closet, and horrible, nightmarish incidents that turned out to be dreams. Yes, I cringe a little, but I was just a kid.

Let me tell ya. This became my biggest obsession. I didn't finish writing the book until right before school started in eighth grade. But I did finish it. My dad began the arduous process of typing it for me, until I mastered keyboarding in the second semester of eighth grade. Then I finished typing it up. I took those typed pages with me everywhere, handing them out in class, on the bus, at Girl Scouts. I was so proud of what I'd written. I was 12, and I'd written a book. (Of course, by the time I got it all typed up, I was 13.) After this thing's published...I'll pull out the original first page and you can laugh at it with me.


Mary Gray said...

That's awesome that you wrote the original at THIRTEEN. That's some serious ambition, girl. It's about time you got it published!! :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

lol. thank heavens very little of it is like the original!

Kate said...

That is amazing self discipline at thirteen to write an entire book!

Vicky said...

It's so cool to go back and think about how it was when you first wrote it. I don't remember writing my first novel (I think it has something to do with repressed memories), but I still have the hard copy I printed up for my best friend to read, and when I go back and it read it, I have to roll my eyes at myself.

Jay said...

That's so terrific, Tamara. I love reading about people who just *knew* this is what they wanted to do when they were younger. I only wish I'd discovered the same thing earlier. Better late than never! :-)

Sara ♥ said...

That is so cool. My husband (then boyfriend) found one of the stories I wrote in my preteen years and read it aloud at a huge Thanksgiving dinner. It was MORTIFYING, haha. But I still have it :-)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

ah! embarrassing! but sometimes it's fun to read what we used to write!

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